Publicity, publicity, publicity

As every writer knows, writing a book is only the first step in the process of getting their thoughts and ideas into the hands of potential readers. The following processes are editing, proofreading, converting and publishing. When they are done, it is time for publicity or marketing. This is where the hard work begins.

Unless you are writing for friends and family you want other people to read your book. Preferably, you want other people to buy and download your book. In order to reach potential readers you need to engage in the act of publicity.

There are different ideas as to when the act of marketing should start. Is it best to start when the book is ready to be sold? Is it best to start when the book has been written and build up some early interest? Should the author go all out and have a pre-ordering service set up? There’s lot of conflicting advice out there from agents and publicists.

Having read blogs, listened to established writers, researched author publicity and pondered the questions I have to say I am no nearer a solution. What I did become aware of at the London Book Festival was of the need for a business card. Even in the modern age when everything is on line, people asked for my card. I didn’t have one, of course. I soon sorted this out by ordering a bunch of 100 cards from Vistaprint. Now, when anyone asks for my details I just hand over my card with my name, contact information and online sites. It makes life much easier and I feel like a proper professional.

New Author Card

New Author Card

Now, I have actually finished the first novel in my cozy mystery series I am looking at publicity. I noticed at the LBF that many of the successful indie authors had business cards specifically advertising their books. Barbara Freethy’s springs to mind. Some had postcards. Business cards are cheaper, so I will probably be looking at getting a stack of them. My plan is to hand them out on the tube whenever I see a person reading a Kindle.

I already have some tee shirts advertising my website (they are a real conversation starter). I am thinking of have a tee advertising my book series. I have a load of blank tea towels and cotton bags I could cover with images of my front cover. I am not sure how successful they would be, though.

All agents and publicists stress the importance of having a good website and making use of social media. Now, I am not a social media girl at all even though I do have accounts on Linked In, Twitter and Facebook. I think I am going to have to get over my dislike of them and use them for publicity. I shall be consulting a few blogs and websites on how to do this.

I do have a website dedicated to my writing and have updated it with details of the book. I built the site using Dreamweaver CS6 and Photoshop CS6. The background colour comes from my business card and I have tried to use some elements of the design on site as well. I have also used the book action from to create both standing and stacking images of the book. I think this is particularly striking and really packs a punch. The action costs 19.99 euros and is well worth the money.

I read on one blog that the website needs to have some basic elements: a home page plugging the book, a page dedicated to the book, an FAQ page, a news or update page and contact details. It only took a couple of hours to put this together on Dreamweaver and I think it looks alright.


These are what the Panos actions look like individually.


one book in Panos     stack of books in Panos

My website can be found at I would be grateful for any feedback.


From Idea to Bookshelf

Back in February, when I was attending a Saturday afternoon writing course, I needed to have a piece of writing to take along. The crime novel I had been working on, had stalled. I had several pieces of unfinished work but nothing new. Luckily, I had been reading a lot of cozy murder mysteries on my Kindle. Casting around the various unfinished pieces of writing on my laptop, I came across the start of a novel. It was set in a small English village dominated by an Abbey and a twice weekly market. I had also been watching reruns of the Great British Bake Off. An idea began to form. I knew of a village I had visited regularly and really liked. It was the ideal place for a mystery story.

I wrote a short piece and took it to the writing course. Up to this point I had been taking parts of an Estonian crime novel, so this was a distinctly different direction for me and a different tone of voice. The other writing course members were very kind and asked for more. The following week I wrote more. The general opinion was, that I had actually embarked on a novel rather than a short story. I took a break from the writing course to concentrate on work commitments.

Then one morning, I had the idea for the coffee bean theft plot. A cast of characters were beginning to form in my head. Some of the characters came from the original short story and some were necessitated by the plot. I decided to make the main female characters strong ones based on my own experience of such organisations.

About this time, I rediscovered Scrivener. This is a software program which enables writers to plot, organise and write their novels. Using the index cards in the program I began putting together the plot. This took a couple of days and I moved the cards about frequently. Finally, I had a plot which seemed to work. The characters came next. I thought about the typical shops and trades you could have in a thriving English village. Threw in some “local characters” and a few incomers as well. I made the vicar and his wife new incumbents. I was off.

Gradually, the story came together. I wrote about three quarters of it in two months. Whenever I had an afternoon or weekend free, I sat at my desk and typed. All was going well until work got really demanding. I took a month off from writing. At the end of term, I went off on a pre-booked trip to Estonia to research my original crime novel.

Coming back to a very hot UK and a new temporary job, it was hard to get back into the rhythm of writing. I worked a lot, travelled across London on a daily basis and read a lot of cozy murder mysteries. I talked to people about writing. I read writing blogs. I thought about writing. Spurred on by friends, I signed up for an autumn writing course to help with the crime novel. Then, I took myself in hand and vowed to finish the novel. The final two chapters were written in a morning. I was very relieved to feel I had finally done it.

That was the easy bit over and done with. Being me, I didn’t start editing and proofreading straight away. I did some internet research on cover design and looked at the covers successful writers had. I got some good advice from a site I can’t recall, which is that novels appealing mainly to women should have the title in handwriting font. This apparently is visual comfort thing. Who am I to argue?

I created my book cover by mashing together two images from a local attracting then using filters in Photoshop I made it look like a watercolour. I then saved the image as a jpeg. The actual cover I created in PowerPoint. I learnt somewhere on the web to make the slide into portrait orientation and then put the images and text on using text boxes. The font is a handwriting font from the menu in Office.  The bunting was done in shapes in PowerPoint. It was rather easy. I am pleased with the finished result and hope it has the desired effect of drawing people towards the finished book.

I now have a cover, the book is with my critical friend and I am back to editing for the next few days.

Cover of Jam, Jerusalem and Java

Cover of Jam, Jerusalem and Java

Day Trip to Winchester

The Cathedral city of Winchester is situated just one hour away from London and is a very pleasant place to visit. The poet John Keats stayed there and the author Jane Austin died there. Naturally, there are tourist trains and memorabilia connected with these two literary figures. In addition, the city is home to several army museums, museums of local history, a cathedral and some pretty stone medieval buildings. It is also home to King Arthur’s Round Table.

My friend and I spent an afternoon looking wandering around the streets popping into museums, shops and pubs. We found some very nice examples of wattle and daub buildings, did a little bit of the river walk, wandered along streets of traditional terraced houses, toured a couple of traditional pubs, did a little shopping and had a lovely lunch. When we left in the evening there were still mahy things we had not had time to see so we were left wanting to pay another visit.

The Round TableKing Arthur’s Round Table in the Great Hall at Winchester